Background

A seven-year-old Murehwa boy, Tapiwa Makore disappeared on Thursday 17 September 2020, only for his torso to be dragged by dogs into a village compound the following morning. When he disappeared, Tapiwa was putting on maroon trousers and a white round-neck jersey with blue stripes. His shoes were found near the garden but the clothes were not recovered.[1]

Tapiwa Makore Junior

The boy had been sent by his parents to look after the garden on the morning of September 17. When his parents went to the garden later to do some watering, they found that their son was missing. They proceeded to ask other children who were also looking after their gardens nearby on the whereabouts of their son. They were told Tapiwa Junior had been seen swimming in a nearby pond. The boy’s parents went to the pond but could not find him.

Tapiwa's parents then alerted other villagers who conducted a search for the young boy until midnight, but they could not find him.

A day after Tapiwa was reported missing, a neighbour Mr Summer Murwira woke up and discovered his dog and its puppies feasting on human body parts in his yard.

Tapiwa Makore's Parents

He then alerted the boy’s parents and a report was made to the police. The body had its head, neck, both legs, and arms hacked off.[2]

Investigations

Investigating officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police first collected the corpse before returning to conduct a search. Upon their return, they instructed everyone in the village to stand with his wife.

The women were instructed to gather in one location as the men carried a search of each household.

Bloodstained trousers were found in Tafadzwa Shamba’s room. Tafadzwa was staying with Tapiwa Makore Senior as his herd boy.

When initially questioned separately, Tapiwa Senior said that the blood on his herd boy's clothes was that of a chicken that he had asked him to kill for their meal.

Tapiwa Makore Senior

When the herd boy was questioned he said to have said he had slept with a virgin the previous day. When the named girl was asked, she refused having slept with him.[3]

Police investigations uncovered that an 11-year-old boy from Nyamutumbu Village was paid $5 to lure Tapiwa Makore (Jnr) from the garden to his uncle’s homestead.

The uncle allegedly gave the boy $5 plus a T-shirt for his role in the murder before warning him against disclosing the matter to other villagers. The boy handed over the money to his mother who also warned him against revealing the matter.

Tafadzwa Shamba in Khakis narrating Tapiwa's murder

The boy will testify as a witness in the murder trial.[4]

As police carried on with investigations, two women were picked up for questioning by police after it emerged that the meat they bought from Tafadzwa Shamba might have been human flesh from the late Tapiwa’s thigh.

Shamba allegedly exchanged the meat for six containers of opaque beer with one of the women, Joina Tangirire.

The meat was consumed by her whole family. Following a tip-off, police picked up Tangirire and a relative, Enia Tangirire, who are alleged to have admitted that they exchanged beer for the meat. [5]

Search For Missing Head

Skulls and bones were recovered from the toilet of Tapiwa Makore (Senior) in Murehwa in November 2020.

All the recovered remains were sent for forensic tests to determine if they are of human or animal origin and if there is any link to the murdered boy.

Also recovered from Makore (Snr)’s house in Nyamutumbu Village was a blood-stained tail of a yet to be identified animal.[6]

Arrests

The herd boy Tafadzwa Shamba was arrested. The young boy's uncle and namesake Tapiwa Senior was arrested after being implicated by his herd boy. [7]

Surprisingly, Tapiwa Senior had put a lot of effort in the initial search for the boy once he had been declared missing. He also led the search party. Those who were part of the search party said he was a pillar of strength to his young brother and constantly assured him that they would find the boy alive.[8]

A woman, Moud Hunidzarira was arrested in Budiriro following a tip-off by the public. At the time of Tapiwa's murder, she was in Murehwa and a few days later, she was seen by some neighbours in Harare cleaning an item that had blood believed to be that of the late Tapiwa Makore.[9]

Thanks Makore, who is Tapiwa Makore Senior's brother, was arrested in connection with the murder of Tapiwa Makore Junior. He was arrested on allegations that he was given the boy’s head and arms.

Police extensively searched Thanks Makore’s house in Damofalls, Ruwa, although they reportedly found no remains. He appeared before a Mutoko magistrate, who remanded him in custody.[10]

Thanks Makore is the prime suspect in the apparent ritual murder of his seven-year-old nephew, Tapiwa Makore Junior who was murdered on September 17.

He reportedly offered to pay US$1 500 for the head and arms of the deceased.[11]

People arrested in the Murehwa Ritual Murder so far are:

  • Tapiwa Makore Senior (victim's uncle)
  • Tafadzwa Shamba (uncle's herd boy)
  • Moud Hunidzarira
  • Thanks Makore (Tapiwa Makore Senior's brother)

Confession

During investigations, Shamba confessed that he killed the boy by cutting off the head with a knife in the dead of the night, while the boy’s uncle was holding a torch.

He said after the alleged murder, he carried a black plastic bag containing the head and the dismembered body while his employer, who is the boy’s uncle, carried another bag containing the arms and legs.

He led the team of detectives to the uncle’s homestead where he said he fed the boy, drugged him with an illicit brew called Kachasu, and locked him up in a room for hours.

Shamba said he met the boy’s uncle around midnight and took the boy to a nearby mountain, where they allegedly killed him.

At the murder scene, investigators saw human waste, believed to have been excreted by the boy during the murder.

Shamba told detectives that he cleaned the scene and set the grass on fire to destroy evidence.

He said while walking back to Makore’s homestead, he felt the load was becoming heavier before dumping the torso near Mr. Summer Murwira’s homestead. While at Makore’s homestead, Shamba said he was instructed to put the head in one of the rooms, which he did.

The following day, Shamba said he dumped the arms and legs at a nearby grave.[12]

Suicide

On 17 November 2020, Japhet Shamba, who is an uncle of Tafadzwa Shamba committed suicide by hanging himself on a tree a few metres from his homestead in Chinyani village under Chief Mangwende.

Whilst he left a suicide note stating that he regretted exhausting all the maize and peanut seeds from his grandmother’s granary, people in Murehwa concluded that the late Tapiwa’s spirit was now avenging after Tafadzwa confessed to the gruesome murder of the boy.[13]

Arson

Thanks Makore had his kitchen hut at his Murehwa homestead destroyed by fire on Friday 18 December 2020. This came a few hours he was granted $10 000 bail by the High Court on the grounds that there was no evidence linking him to the killing.

In November 2020, the kitchen hut of Tapiwa Makore Senior, twin brother to Thanks and the principal suspect in the killing, was also gutted by fire.[14]

Burial

Tapiwa Makore is yet to be buried as his head and hands are still missing.[15] In December 2020, Chief Mangwende of Murehwa agreed to the burial of the boy’s remains without the head on January 9 2021, as the family sought closure to his case.[14]

Trial

Tapiwa Makore (senior) and Tafadzwa Shamba, were arrested for the kidnapping and killing. The two are in custody pending trial.[16]

In December 2020, Thanks Makore together with his co-accused Tapiwa Makore Snr, Tafadzwa Shamba and Maud Hunidzarira sought to be released on bail. [11]

Bail Ruling

On 18 December 2020, Thanks Makore was granted $10 000 bail by the High Court on the grounds that there was no evidence linking him to the killing.[14]

Thanks Makore's Rearrest

Thanks Makore was rearrested by the police on allegations of defeating or obstructing the course of justice by destroying evidence. He was rearrested a few hours after being granted $10 000 bail by the High Court on the grounds that there was no evidence linking him to the killing.

The police allege that when Tapiwa Makore (Snr) was arrested in September, Thanks allegedly drove to Murehwa Police Station where he asked for keys to Tapiwa Makore’s house. He then went to the house and allegedly destroyed and burnt some evidence which linked to the commissioning of the crime.[17]

References